On Sunday July 23rd an Ebay auction I had up for a Macbook Pro 2.2Ghz ended with the winner as vrotennis. This winner had 148 ratings, all positive. This looked good. That's a higher rating than I have. I got an email through ebay's system from the buyer asking how much shipping would be to this address:
Abon-Yaschick St. #3, 8
I sent an invoice through Ebay and got the $2100 from a Verified Paypal account with that name on it. No verified address though. So I asked why there was no verified address. This was the reply:
In Russia we don't have an address with paypal accounts, because it's
only possible with credit card registration.
Russian's paypal accounts can be funded only by bank account & they
are verified by banks,
not by credit cards. That's why I don't have an address in paypal.
But as you can see
- I'm paypal verified member (you can click on my payment to see the >
details of the transaction)
That seemed reasonable at the time. Only now do I know that there ARE no Russian paypal accounts of any kind.
The money was in. The english in the email gave me no reason to doubt. It sounded like an American exchange student to me, given the name.
So I packed the computer.
Here's the computer inside it's own box.
Here's it in the box.
And here's the label on the side with the Serial Number.
It left the US on July 26 for Moscow with the tracking #EQ726752752US
That day, Paypal put a hold on the payment saying that the account was claiming Unauthorized Access. I went to the post office, but they couldn't contact anyone to try to get it stopped. I also emailed the Russian post office. The box won't stop at customs because the one thing that they asked me to do which I should have not done was declare $150 value on the customs form. I thought it was a reputable person just trying not to pay 50% duty on something they were buying. Turns out the vrotennis ebay account was hacked. They sent me an email telling me not to honor the deal a day after I mailed it. And the paypal account was a real account, but it belonged to the same person that lost their ebay account. So someone had their bank account emptied with the money that went to me for awhile. I've contact the postal inspector. And the FBI's Internet Crime Division. And Ebay. And Paypal. I have no hope, but it's all I can think to do.
Update: The money had cleared and was transferred to my bank BEFORE paypal decided to take it back and before I sent the box. So I had to transfer it back to not have a -$2k balance.